Piperazine-like compounds: a new group of designer drugs-of-abuse on the European market

Forensic Sci Int. 2001 Sep 15;121(1-2):47-56. doi: 10.1016/s0379-0738(01)00452-2.


1-Aryl-piperazine compounds are, depending on their substituents, selective for certain serotonin receptors and together with their easy availability and their so-called legal status, this group of psychoactive compounds are potential designer drugs-of-abuse. Internet in that respect is an important source of information and distribution facilities. Because this development may have consequences for the interpretation of future clinical and forensic toxicological case studies, some analytical aspects of 1-benzyl-piperazine (BZP), 1-[4-methoxyphenyl]-piperazine (pMeOPP) and 1-[3-trifluoromethylphenyl]-piperazine (TFMPP) were studied. BZP was not detected by the AxSYM FPIA technology designed to determine amphetamine-like compounds, but had showed some cross reactivity with EMIT d.a.u.. The cross reactivities at 300 and 12,000ng/ml (RS)-amphetamine equivalents were 0.4 and 1.3%, respectively. Although BZP was not identified directly by the REMEDi HS Drug Profiling System, it can be detected by this HPLC/UV scanning system. Using GC/NPD without derivatisation, BZP, pMeOPP and TFMPP can be analysed for and applying GC/MS without or with acetylation or trifluoroacetylation, these compounds can be identified unambiguously. The usefulness of GC/NPD and GC/MS in this respect was demonstrated by the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the content of a capsule with the synthetic stimulant A2, which proved to contain 86.4mg of BZP.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Designer Drugs / adverse effects
  • Designer Drugs / analysis*
  • Enzyme Multiplied Immunoassay Technique
  • Europe
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Piperazines / adverse effects
  • Piperazines / analysis*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Designer Drugs
  • Piperazines